Friday, November 10, 2006

Coconut Lime Curd Bars

These are absolutely fantastic---much better than lemon!

1 c. sweetened flaked coconut
3/4 c., plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 c. confectioner's sugar, plus more for dusting
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 c. unsalted butter
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 tbsp lime zest
1/3 c. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350F. Combine coconut, 3/4 c. flour, 1/2 c. confectioner's sugar, 1tbsp corn starch, and the butter in the bowl of a food processor (or use hand mixer). Pulse several times until a crumbly dough is formed. Press firmly into a greased 8x8 pan. Bake until just golden, about 12 mins. Sift together the granulated sugar, the remaining 1 tbsp of cornstarch, and the 2 tbsp of flour. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, lime zest, lime juice and vanilla. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture, whisking to avoid lumps. Pour the filling over the baked crust. Bake about 22 mins. Cool completely in the refrigerator, about 2 hours. Cut into about 16 bars and dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mushroom Information

I was trolling around the internet today and came across some interesing mushroom factoids. I though I would put the information on here....

Mushrooms: The New Superfood

Mushrooms have long been recognised for their health benefits. Medicinal mushrooms have been used in China and Japan for more than 3,000 years to boost immunity and fight diseases such as cancer. Now word is out that mushrooms are the new superfoods. From shiitake, oyster to portabello, we reveal the world of fungi and what?s good about them.

Shiitake Benefits: The second most commonly produced mushroom in the world, shiitake has both medicinal and food value. It provides noteworthy benefits for ulcers, high or low blood pressure, liver problems, allergies and autoimmune diseases. When eaten, it yields 26% protein by dry weight, carbohydrates, fiber, linoleic acid, vitamins B2, C and D, ergosterol and possesses abundant quantities of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and all the essential amino acids needed in our diet. It has been used to treat nutritional deficiencies and liver ailments. Flavour: Fresh mushrooms have firm caps and light brown meaty flesh with a pleasant and distinct flavour that lingers on the tongue. Uses: Add to sauces and stocks, wrap in foil with fish, white meat or vegetables, or chop and use in stuffings for poultry, fish or meat.Seasonal availability: All year.

Oyster Benefits: Oyster mushrooms contain carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins B1, B2, plus minerals, especially iron and an antioxident. This mushroom shows activity against cancer and helps lower cholesterol. It has shown activity in the following areas: anti-tumour, immune response, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibiotic.Flavour: They have a subtle flavour and a chewy texture. Uses: Add to pasta recipes, risotto or stir-fry with other types of mushroom.Seasonal availability: All year.

Maitake Benefits: A medicinal mushroom, Maitake helps to lower high blood pressure, and also reduces blood and liver cholesterol and triglycerides, thus reducing risk of stroke and heart disease.

Crimini and Portabell Benefits: While these two are from the same mushroom family, the portabello is left to grow longer and larger. These mushrooms contain a variety of B complex vitamins, are an excellent source of riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin, are a very good source of thiamine, vitamin B6 and a good source of folate. Selenium, lysine, protein, zinc, copper, manganese and iron are more benefits of eating this mushroom.Flavour: These creamy yellow mushrooms have a good flavour and a velvet-like texture. Uses: Add cooked ceps to omelettes, pasta or add to stir-fries and mixed mushroom dishes.Seasonal availability: All year.

Porcini Benefits: Porcinci are wild mushrooms native to the Alpine regions of Italy and France, which contain niacin, potassium, selenium and protein.Flavour: They have a distinctive aroma and rich flavour. Uses: Soaked dried porcini can be added to a variety of savoury dishes in the same way as fresh mushrooms. They are particularly good in pasta dishes, risotto, soups, stews and omelettes. Porcini go particularly well with garlic or fresh herbs such as flat leaf parsley or thyme. The soaking water can be included in risottos, stews and soups.Seasonal availability: Fresh porcini are only available in late summer and autumn so the dried variety is more commonly used.

Chanterelle Benefits: Chanterelle mushrooms contain protein, vitamin D and vitamin B, including riboflavin, niacin and thiamine. Minerals include potassium, copper and selenium. Flavour: They have a firm flesh with a subtle, fruity flavour. Uses: Serve with scrambled eggs for a tasty breakfast, add to creamy pasta sauces or simply serve on toast.Seasonal availability: All year.

Morel Benefits: Morel mushrooms contain protein, vitamin D and vitamin B, including riboflavin, niacin and thiamine. Minerals include potassium, copper and selenium.Uses: Morels shouldn't be eaten raw. They contain toxic helvellic acid that disappears with cooking. They are a natural pair to fava beans and peas, a delicious medley served over pasta or toast. Add to rich meats and fish.Seasonal availability: Spring

Wood Ear Benefits: Wood Ear has shown anti-tumour and cholesterol-lowering properties. They contain Vitamin B, C, D and iron.Flavour: It has very little flavor, but is used mainly for its firm, gelatinous texture and for the colour. Uses: Add to soups. Seasonal availability: The dried variety are available all year.

Reishi Benefits: Reishi mushrooms have been used as a cure for disease for over 2,000 years. They are known to increase vitality, improve coronary arteries, inhibit platelet aggregation, normalise blood pressure, relieve stress and asthma, and prevent and treat certain types of cancer and other degenerative diseases. Reishi also works as an antihistamine by inhibiting agents that cause cold symptoms, hay fever, asthma, and allergies and promotes respiratory health.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Chicken stew with buckwheat polenta

This is a Slovene recipe from my friend Brina (she's a kickin cook!)

600 g of chicken thighs (or different parts of chicken)
40 g of onions
200 g of chopped vegetables (leek, celery, carrot, yellow kohlrabi)
bay leaf
white flour
white wine or vinegar
100 g of potatoes
150 g of buckwheat flour
100 g of white flour
80 g with cracklings in fat
ground white pepper

Fry cleaned chicken thighs on fat, add chopped onions, brown, baste with wine, wait for the wine to evaporate, add spices, salt, baste with water or chicken soup and cook for 15 minutes, add noodles made from vegetables, cook for another 10 minutes, add light browned mixture made of fat, flour, chopped onions; boil, enhance the taste, pour in a tablespoonful of good vinegar and serve with buckwheat polenta.Buckwheat polenta:Cook peeled and sliced potatoes in salted water, let the potato boil for 10 minutes, pour a mixture of buckwheat and white flour into the water, cover it; when the water boils over the flour (the flour sticks together, forming a coherent mass) thrust the flour with the ladle and slowly cook for 20 minutes. Pour out the water from the cooked polenta, but keep it. On top, pour the oil with the cracklings and stir the polenta with kitchen forks. Adjust the thickness or the moistness of the polenta by pouring in the water (in which the polenta had been cooked) you have put aside.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

One more dip.....

This has always been a real favorite! Great with fresh veggies (carrot, celery, etc) or sea food. And with the holidays coming can never have enough dips!


1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 teaspoons minced onions
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch of dry mustard
8 oz cream cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped olives
¼ teaspoon Thyme
Dash of Tabasco
¼ cup mayonnaise
Chopped parsley or chives

Blend together the garlic, onion, salt and mustard. Add cream cheese and blend together until smooth. Add mayo, lemon juice, olives, thyme and Tabasco sauce and blend. Sprinkle with parsley or chives. Serve with seafood or raw vegetables.

NOTE: This should be made up and allowed to sit overnight for the flavours to mellow. It’s got just a bit of a ‘sparkle’ to it!

Crab Dip

This is a recipe my sister gave me...knowing my love for crab. Its so easy to make and is great for holiday get-togethers. Plop a dolop on a ritz cracker and bob's you uncle....


1- 8 ounce package of Crab (chopped)
2 TBSP of minced onion
2 TBSP of Mayo
1- 8 ounce package of Cream Cheese

Mix together, onion, mayo and cream cheese, then add half the crab. put this in bowl, when ready to serve, pat the remaining crab on the crab dip. Allow to mellow for a few hours in the fridge. Serve with Cocktail sauce...on a ritz!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Squash Pie (lighter than pumpkin)

In time for Thanksgiving;) I've never actually made this one myself, but got it from an old friend who was one of the best cooks I've ever known.

2 butternut squash (can make a day ahead)

Clean and cut and stick in oven at 400 degrees until tender (30 mins-1 hour). Scoop out pulp and put in blender. Add 1/3 c. water.

Unbaked 9-in pie shell
1 ¾ c. strained mashed, cooked squash
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. ginger
3 eggs
1 ½ c. milk
1 tsp. butter, melted

Combine squash, sugar, salt & spices. Then blend in eggs, milk & butter. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 50 mins. or until fork comes out clean.

Tuna Noodle Casserole Melt

Normally I hate tuna noodle casserole---it can turn out very watery & bland. I cooked it up about two nights ago, taking suggestions from a few people as well as adding some things of my own, and really enjoyed it.

approx 2 cups fusili pasta
2 tins tuna
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg sharp shredded cheddar
1 onion
pepper to taste
milk as needed
3 tomatoes
1 cup (ish) breadcrumbs
olive oil

Cook pasta while cooking onion in olive oil til tender. Mix together cooked pasta, cooked onion, tuna, cream of mushroom soup, large handfull of shredded cheddar, milk, and pepper. Put in slightly buttered casserole dish and top with remaining cheese, breadcrumbs and sliced tomato.

How about a nice healthy Carrot Cake???

1 1/2 cup oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup undrained pineapple
2 cups grated peeled carrots
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flaked coconut

Cream eggs, sugar and add oil; add the flour alternately with the pineapple, carrots, vanilla, soda, cinnamon and salt and beat until well blended. Add the nuts and coconut. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Make sure you test it with a toothpick first because I find that it usually takes me closer to 60 minutes for this cake to cook.

1 stick butter (margarine doesn't taste as good)
1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese (at room temperature)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients and beat well until blended. Spread over cooled carrot cake and sprinkle with more chopped nuts.

Here's the BBQ Rib Recipe

BBQ RIBS ala Windsong

Lay your selection of ribs in a ovenproof pan in one layer. Ones with a lot of meat on them work best. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over ribs (1/2 to 1 whole lemon, depending on how many ribs you are doing). Season with salt and pepper and a bit of garlic powder. Bake in oven at 350° until ribs are lightly browned. Coat ribs generously with your favourite sauce and turn oven down to 150° and let cook until ribs are VERY tender for up to 3 hours (depending on thickness of ribs it could go longer or shorter) Re-coat ribs with BBQ sauce every half hour to get that real baked in BBQ flavour.

NB: If you are of a mind, you can lay the ribs on a layer of sliced onion before baking and just leave them in there in sauce. Goes great with the ribs or put on a beef sandwich the next day.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Lamb & Haricut Bean Ragu

This recipe is VERY good. I got it off a travel cooking program. It really doesn't have much in the way of just kind of put in the amount you like of lamb and beans. Use the full amount of will make or break this recipe.

Fresh Haricott beans - if dried, soak to 'ready to use' state.

Lamb – Boned Shoulder – In a large pan, cut into large pieces and fry up in a little olive oil to brown (add a spoon or two of flour to thicken the dish later).

Remove the meat and set aside, and fry up a couple of onions medium chopped with 3 cloves of chopped garlic. Add fresh, peeled and chopped tomatoes (about 2 or 3). Return the meat to the pan. Make up a bouquet garni of 2 or 3 pieces of dried thyme and a couple of bay leaves and tie up with twine and put in pot. Add just over a half bottle of french rose wine. Add a dollop of tomato puree, then cover dish with chicken stock. Season whole dish with coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Cover pan and let cook just below a simmer for one and a half hour or until meat is tender. Add beans and cook for no longer than 15 minutes.
Remove garni, add chopped parsely, about one quarter cup and clove of chopped garlic. Mix well and ladle into deep bowls.

Serve with fresh French baugettes and butter with fresh garden salad.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Pasta w/Smoked Salmon

This recipe takes about 10 mins and is really good.

1 pkg smoked salmon
1 container creme fresh
parmesan to taste
pepper to taste

Cook pasta. In separate pan, mix all other ingredients until warm and salmon cooked to your taste (can use ham as well). Mix pasta and salmon/sauce together. Serve!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Black bean & chicken chili

There are so many substitutions you can make with this one. Chicken, smoked chicken, ground beef and ground turkey all work. Sometimes I substitute spicy chili beans for 1 or 2 cans of the other beans (I just like 'em better). Tortillas are nice on the side as well.

2 tsp olive oil
1 lg onion, chopped
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ½ in pieces
chili powder, cumin & cayenne pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (15 oz) diced tomatoes (with chopped chilis---if you can find)
2 cans (15 oz) black beans
1 small can pinto beans
1 can corn
1 red & 1 green bell pepper, chopped (or any colour peppers you can get your hands on)
cilantro to taste (fresh if possible)
shredded cheddar, sour cream & raw onion as toppings (optional)

Heat oil in large pot over med heat. Add onion and cook until tender; about 4 mins. Add chicken, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and garlic; cook, stirring, until chicken is slightly browned, about 2 mins. Stir in beans and tomatoes. Heat to simmer; cover and cook 20 mins. Add corn, bell pepper and cilantro; cook until heated through and vegetables are tender-crisp, about 7 minutes.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Kielbasa or Bratwurst in Beer & Onions

This is one of my absolute favourites and another I often make substitutions on, varying the types of sausages and beers.

4 tablespoons butter
3-4 small onions
1-2 lbs. kielbasa, bratwurst or other sausage
1 12 oz. bottle dark beer
Dijon mustard

In heavy saucepan, melt butter & sauté onions until translucent over medium heat. Add sausage to pan & brown 3-4 minutes on each side. Pour beer over sausage & onion; bring to boil and reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 25 minutes. Remove kielbasa & onions from pan, place on dish and put in warm oven (approx. 150). Reduce beer over high heat to about ½ cup (about 4 mins). Pour over sausage and serve.

*Suggestion for sides: homemade potato pancakes and spinach
*Serve with dijon or other spicy mustard

*Feel free to experiment with different beers, sausages, and even try adding fruit such as apples with the onions.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Saucy Burgers (aka sloppy joes)

Honestly, I've made this so many times this year I'm a bit sick of it, but it is a classic and it tends to go over well (and it's super easy!)

2 tbs. oil
½ c. finely chopped onion
1 lb. ground beef/mince (ground sirloin is best)
1 c. chili sauce (ex. Bennets or Uncle Ben's)
1 c. ketchup
¾ c. chopped celery
¾ c. chopped green pepper
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper

Heat oil in skillet. Add onion and cook over medium hat until transparent, stirring occasionally. Add ground beef and cook until lightly browned. Remove from heat; add and blend in chili sauce, ketchup, celery, green pepper and seasonings. Simmer, uncovered, about 25 minutes. Stir frequently. Serve over buttered, toasted hamburger buns.

*Optional: add some cooked, diced potatoes and/or corn and kidney beans

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Chicken & mushroom salad w/spicy sesame dressing

125 g/4 oz pack ready-washed salad leaves
one cucumber, sliced diagonal
small handful of chopped fresh mint
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
12 shitake mushrooms

125 ml/4 fl oz (1/2 cup) rice vinegar
1 tsbp/15 ml Dijon dressing
4 tbsp/60 ml rapeseed oil (may substitute canola oil)
2 tbsp/30 ml sesame oil
2 tsp/10 ml soy sauce
4 spring onions, chopped

To make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar and mustard in a bowl. Gradually whisk in both oils, then the soy sauce. Mix in the spring onions. Place the chicken and mushrooms in a large glass baking dish. Pour half the dressing over and turn to coat. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the grill. Remove chicken and mushrooms from marinade and grill until cooked through about two minutes per side for the mushrooms, about four minutes per side for the chicken. Slice the cooked chicken and halve the mushrooms. Combine the salad leaves, cucumbers and mint in large bowl. Pour remainder of dressing over salad to coat and toss gently. Transfer to individual plates and spoon chicken slices and mushrooms on top.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


½ cup chopped onion (1 medium onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups cubed, peeled eggplant
1 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼ inch slices
Small can cut up tomatoes
¾ cup chopped green sweet pepper (1 medium pepper) [optional]
3 tablespoons dry white wine or water
1 tablespoon fresh basil

In large pan, cook onion and garlic in hot oil over medium heat until tender. Stir in eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, sweet pepper, wine, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer covered, over medium-low heat about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Uncover and cook about 5 more minutes until mos of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Stir in basil.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen blueberries or raspberries
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-muffin tin with 12 paper muffin-tin liners and set aside. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium mixing bowl. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, butter, and lemon zest. Add the dry ingredients to the yogurt mixture and whisk just until combined, being careful not to overmix. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the blueberries into the batter. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and bake until puffed up and golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Remove the muffins from the oven and let cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Oatmeal Pie

Tastes similar to pecan pie and treacle tart and is sometimes described as a mock pecan pie. Very very rich and sweet but something different.

¾ cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter
¾ cup corn syrup
¾ cup quick rolled oats, uncooked
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together granulated sugar, corn syrup and butter. Fold in slightly beaten eggs. Add vanilla and stir in oats. Pour in unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40-50 minutes.

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp Earl Grey tea leaves, from approx 6 tea bags
½ tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup butter, cut into pieces

Pulse together all the dry ingredients in a food processor (or blender if you don’t have one, in which case you’ll need to transfer the dry ingredients to a large bowl and use a hand mixer when you add the other ingredients) until the tea leave are pulverized. Add the vanilla, 1 tsp water, and the butter. Pulse together until a dough is formed. Divide the dough in half. Place each half on a sheet of cling film and roll into a 12 inch log, about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Slice each log into disks, 1/3 inch thick. Place on parchment or foil lined baking sheets, 1.5 inches apart. Bake on 375 degrees F until edges are just brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.